Ever the bastion of beers, feminism, and chicken wings, Hooters is once again courting controversy, this time with the restaurant chain’s social media team apparently posting a rape joke. As you’ve probably guessed, this has all gone over quite well.
The post popped up on Hooters’ Facebook page on Saturday, linking to an outside site. Hooters has since removed the post. The main visual component in the post is a young blonde wearing shorts with her legs splayed, smiling and pointing at her naughty bits. The incendiary portion of the Hooters post, though, is the caption:
EXHIBIT A: The proof that she was asking for it your Honour.
“She was asking for it,” of course, ranks up there alongside “Look at how she was dressed!” among the “classic” defenses against a rape charge. Lest anyone think Hooters has any wiggle room with regard to whether the “joke” is about rape or not, the “your Honour” [sic] portion of it eliminates all doubt.
As Cosmopolitan points out, it’s not like one expects too much from Hooters, “a restaurant that makes its female employees wear bright orange booty shorts with taupe tights and pretend to laugh at its male customers’ s**t jokes.” Still, with the myriad examples of people and organizations having to backpedal and apologize for similar rape jokes, one would think a multinational corporation would know better than to post such content to its social media site. This is, of course, the Internets, where nothing goes away and everyone can know what you did within seconds of you posting it.
Over at Policy Mic, they’re calling for someone at Hooters to lose their job over the snafu, and the mood wasn’t much different in the comment thread for the Hooters Facebook post.
“You are a disgusting piece of toilet garbage, Hooters,” wrote one viewer. “Disgusting,” said another.
Oddly enough, though, the Hooters post has more than 340 Likes. Because… well, actually, we can’t think of any way to snark away our surprise at that. Hooters fans, you have stumped us!
For its part, Hooters is falling back on another classic defense: “Our page got hacked!” In one follow-up tweet, Hooters claimed that its page had been “compromised” and asked Hooters fans to “please be patient while we work to resolve this issue & regain access.”
A subsequent tweet thanked readers for their patience and issued the requisite apology “for the insensitive material that was posted to our page out of our control.” Hooters further explained the situation in a press release Saturday evening:
Today, our Facebook page was hacked and all admin rights were suspended. We apologize for the unauthorized posts made and are distressed by the insensitive material that was posted out of our control. Hooters does not share these opinions.
As of 7 p.m. EST, we have regained admin rights to our page and are working closely with Facebook to investigate the matter.
No matter who posted the offending material, Hooters isn’t the first to have to deal with the fallout from a rape joke. Typically, though, such material is the purview of shock comics, not business like Hooters that have something to lose.
In any case, it’s good to see Hooters issuing the mea culpas. Hopefully, the chain can move past the rape joke situation and once again be known for hot wings, beers, firing Hooters waitresses because of their blonde highlights, and turning down Hooters applicants because they’re not hot enough.